As the temperatures continue to plunge, Michiana residents who heat their homes with propane are feeling the pain of the highest prices per gallon in decades.
Michigan has declared a propane emergency, one of 15 states spanning from Oklahoma to Maine. The U.S. Department of Transportation followed suit, calling for a home heating fuel emergency, which eases restrictions on the number of hours propane truck drivers can be on the road.
“Because of the shortages, a lot propane drivers were using their hours waiting at a terminal to pick up product,” said Scot Imus, Executive Director of the Indiana Propane Gas Association.
Close to 10 percent of Indiana residents heat their homes with propane, which means about half a million hoosiers are seeing prices more than a dollar higher than they did a year ago.
Many local propane businesses are putting caps around 150 gallons to help conserve supplies. They’re also instituting those maximums as a favor to customers, so they fill up with the smallest amount necessary while the prices are so high.
“To look at somebody and say you're 150 gallon fill is going to cost you $500 dollars, when you have children and everything... its hard,” said Dennis Comeno, Manager at Plymouth LP Gas. “People are sticker shocked. They’re closing off rooms to their homes.”
Businesses like Plymouth LP are opting not to push the price surge on to their customers, hoping that the propane shortage will let up soon.
“We just want everybody to know that it's everywhere and we have no control,” Comeno said. “It’s not just right here in the little town of Plymouth, its absolutely everywhere.”